Developing Healthcare Skills for Employability for urban and rural Afghan refugees in Pakistan (YSDP

ARC’s Youth Skill Development Program provided Afghan youth with unique opportunities to acquire sustainable skill development knowledge and generate income based livelihoods. Due to the large number of applications, requests and referrals from stakeholders/community elders, as well as the motivation of individual applicants, instead of enrolling 100 students in the YSD program, 120 were placed in the programme. The trainings were conducted from renowned Pakistan Institute of Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Medical University and College of Medical Technologies.

The training programs were centered on medical technologies education and on-job training in the following disciplines:

  1. Medical and Nursing Assistant
  2. Surgical /Operation Theatre Assistant
  3. Dental Surgery Assistant
  4. Radiography Assistant
  5. Medical Lab Assistant
  6. Renal Dialysis Assistant
  7. Community Midwifery

The students were selected from different parts of country. They came from diverse rural and urban backgrounds, with varying degrees of command over English and computer literacy. This posed a challenge in the instruction and examination of the one year diploma programs; in order to increase the understanding of the students and ensure that they maintain qualifying grades; ARC requested SZABMU arrange English Language Foundation and computer courses for the students.

Soft skill trainings were also given to the students in areas such as Effective Communication and Counseling, Critical Thinking, Self-Care, Team Building, Entrepreneurship, Knowledge of Job searching, Market Behavior and Resume Writing. Out of 120 students, 108 trainees- consisting of 77 males and 31 females successfully graduated and received the Government of Pakistan accredited diplomas by Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Medical University and College of Medical Technologies on December 14, 2016. Moreover, each diploma was duly attested by Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Islamabad, Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination  (NHSR&C) and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Islamabad (for Afghanistan).

An employment facilitation desk (EFD) was established in at the College of Medical Technologies (CMT) SZAMBU. The Placement Officer provided career counseling sessions to all graduates, in groups, and one-on-one sessions. This facilitation enabled the graduates to develop their CVs and other job acquiring skills. Individual discussions were held with the graduates which included planning of future goals, job prospects, and further education after completion of the diploma course.

By the end of July 2017, ARC signed six MoUs with different employers for the YSDP graduates. ARC’s staff regularly visited the health facilities/clinics with the graduates and meet with employers for placement of the participants. As a result, 43 graduates (29men and 14 women) are working with employers in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

63% of graduates have been placed with employers in Pakistan and 37% have been placed with employers in Afghanistan. Out of 73 student placements, 30 graduates have established their own self-start up business in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

ARC handed over 30 start-up kits to the graduates at their requested locations of their new venture. 30 graduates are employed with ARC’s financial assistance in Afghanistan and Pakistan. A Management Information System (MIS) reporting templates developed and reports collected on this template by every month with respect to the discipline. By the end of July 2017, the average income of placed graduates is PKR 7,847.

Following and implementing all three placement strategies, ARC has successfully placed 73 graduates both in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Cumulatively, ARC has placed 73 graduates against the target of 66.